Mirella Amato—Canada’s only Master Cicerone (master beer sommelier)—regularly runs guided beer tastings. She also advises restaurants, bars, and brewpubs on beer varieties, brands, and pairings. Amato gave us the lowdown on tarting up your favourite chips with some classy brew.
Doritos Nacho Cheese
Pair with: Dark, chocolatey ale, like Stone Hammer Dark Ale.
“Because this classic chip has quite a sharp flavour, I paired it with a beer that was nice and mellow to counteract those qualities. Also, the earthy notes of the corn chip are matched by the dark undertones of the beer.”
This beer also goes well with: A cheeseburger.
Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar
Pair with: Belgian wheat beer, like Mill Street Belgian Wit.
“This was the most challenging pairing because salt and vinegar are so tangy, so I needed something that would be refreshing, but also add to the flavour mix. The orange and coriander in the beer go well with the salt and vinegar tastes.”
This beer also goes well with: Pad Thai.
Ruffles All Dressed
Pair with: A semi-sweet fruit beer, like McAuslan’s St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale.
“The chips have spices that are sweet and earthy, so I was looking for a beer that would mirror that. The slight sweetness of the beer ties in well with the red-pepper sweetness of the chips.”
This beer also goes well with: Roasted root vegetables.
Pringles Sour Cream and Onion
Pair with: Pilsner, like Old Credit Pale Pilsner.
“These chips have a richness to them,” says Amato, “so I wanted to cut that with a pilsner that was crisp and refreshing, with a delicate flavour. Also, the sharp finish from the hops ties in nicely with the onion.”
This beer also goes well with: A light green salad.
Pair with: American-style amber ale, like Amsterdam Big Wheel Amber Ale.
“These chips are sweet and tangy, so I chose a beer that was sweet and bitter, with caramel notes that would be a nice accent.”
This beer also goes well with: Barbecue pork ribs.
Kettle Chips Jalapeño
Pair with: Amber ale, like Lake of Bays Spark House Red Ale.
“I needed a beer with some sweetness to mellow out the kick of these chips, and because they are super crunchy, I picked something with a malty, smooth feel.”
This beer also goes well with: Roast beef sandwich with horseradish (and chips on the side).
Wild Card: Hickory Sticks
Pair with: Brown ale, like Black Oak Nut Brown Ale.
“The nutty and roasted-malt flavours from the ale match perfectly with the smokiness of the Hickory Sticks, and help balance all the saltiness.”
This beer also goes well with: Smoked sausage.